This might be best time of year to surf in Northeast Florida

Hurricane Epsilon could create good surf conditions in Northeast Florida.
Hurricane Epsilon could create good surf conditions in Northeast Florida. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This is the best time of the year for surfing in Northeast Florida. October brings the biggest and most consistent surf just before the water temperatures start cooling off. No need to travel this time of year when the waves are right in our backyard.

This week, we have seen solid easterly windswell, which will soon be replaced by bigger groundswell from Hurricane Epsilon on Friday. This swell will be more powerful than other tropical systems due to the hurricane’s hybrid form and slow movement.

Here's the wave forecast for Friday evening.

Hurricane Epsilon started as a hybrid. Fueled by upper level mid-latitude winds, it expanded very wide. Tropical storm-force winds reached over 300 miles in diameter. Gradually warmer ocean temperatures made the winds stronger as it acquired tropical characteristics of a warm core and lower pressures.

If you’ll recall, Hurricane Sandy had a similar composition that made the biggest surf in Florida since the 1991 Halloween Perfect Storm swell. Both Sandy and the Perfect Storm developed in late October, but don’t expect double overhead sets this time. Sandy’s record gale-force wind diameter was over 1,150 miles, while Epsilon is less than half that size.

Local easterly wind conditions are looking to keep some bump on the waves for the weekend. King tides were running 7 feet above mean sea level last weekend, mushing out the sandbar, but tide swings will lower to 5-6 feet this weekend.

Surfing Forecast

  • Friday: The swell hits before sunrise with 6-7′ seas in a foot overhead easterly swell
  • Saturday: We’ll see 4-5′ seas in chest to head high cleaner NE swell.
  • Sunday: Sets become spaced out with 3-4′ seas in waist to chest high semi-choppy surf

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